Hyundai A-League Season 6

Victory takes Glory
By Alan Clark

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 19
7:30pm, Saturday 18 December, 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium

Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Archie Thompson 45'+4, Rody Vargas 63')
lost to
Perth Glory FC 0

(Photo linked from FFA site)

Melbourne Victory made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season, defeating Perth Glory two-nil at the Melbourne Football Stadium on Saturday evening.

With the teams around it also accruing points, this was a must-win for Melbourne against a Glory side which had already defeated it twice this campaign, despite its own lowly ladder position.

It was eventually achieved after an arm-wrestle of a game.

Victory's win however came at some cost. Archie Thompson and Matthew Kemp, both only recently returned to the team after lengthy injury lay-offs, each saw only first-half action, leaving the pitch well before time through injury recurrence. Kemp was replaced just after the half-hour, hampered by a groin injury.

Thompson hobbled off with a hamstring injury sustained in the act of scoring the stunning opening goal as the first-half came to a close.

Rody Vargas, who came off the bench as Kemp's replacement, put Victory two ahead just after the hour, heading home a corner.

The margin was a fair balance of the game, although it wasn't pretty football. Both sides brought muscle and physicality into their approach, none better encapsulated by the teams' two captains. Both Kevin Muscat for Melbourne, and Jacob Burns for Perth, put on their best junk-yard dog acts, and spent much of the game snarling and scrapping at each other, whilst simultaneously protesting the other's brutality in challenges on team-mates.

Surprisingly, referee Matthew Breeze felt it necessary only to produce two yellow cards, Burns eventually amongst them, and was able to keep hostilities under control by other means.

Adriano Pellegrino - appropriate for a player with such a name - was one of Glory's consistently most dangerous players throughout, despite the attentions Victory players directed towards him. Pellegrino was in early action, being bundled over on a number of occasions, but providing the best early effort with a long-range shot which hit the base of the post after it swung late. Shortly after, he needed to leave the pitch for treatment after a clash with Diogo Ferreira mid-pitch.

The impetus was running Glory's way, Pellegrino central to much of it. Victory was also vulnerable down its left side, as Scott Neville used his pace to telling effect. Kemp was under significant pressure from Glory's speed, and an early miskick would have dented his confidence. When he was felled by Neville and slow to recover, Victory coach Ernie Merrick brought on Vargas in his place, changing from a four-man defence into a back three, and giving Melbourne a boosted midfield.

Thompson created two promising opportunities midway through the half, setting off on mazy runs on both occasions which ended inside the Glory penalty-area, unable to make the cutting pass either time. The second showed the greater promise, as his lobbed cross found Marvin Angulo at the far post. Angulo sought to lay off a cushioned ball into Robbie Kruse's path only for Jamie Coyne to intercept.

Once again, Neville showed his pace down the right, skipping into a shooting position after being set up by Pellegrino from Burns, and racing by Angulo. Victory goalkeeper Michael Petkovic was able to make a block save as Neville launched a thunderbolt from ten yards.

Thompson and Kruse combined again in the first-half's dying moments after an inch-perfect diagonal ball struck by Carlos Hernandez fell precisely into Thompson's path. After drawing the defence, Thompson slipped the ball inside for Kruse, but Kruse elected to take an extra touch which allowed Coyne and Joshua Risdon to snuff out the chance.

But Victory found enough time to get the opener deep into first-half added time. Muscat began the move striding into the Glory half under no pressure, finding the yellow-booted Kruse up the left. With red-booted strike-partner Thompson alongside, Kruse played a short pass inside then received a lay-off in return. Kruse, facing away from goal, back-heeled the ball to Thompson who had now skipped well behind the over-tested Glory defence, completely wrong-footing Jamie Harnwell and Josh Mitchell. Thompson's shot easily went by Tando Velaphi, but in the act of jumping over the now prone goalkeeper, Thompson tweaked his hamstring, his celebrations now significantly muted as he recognised it signalled the end of his involvement in the game.

It was a marvellously incisive move, begun with a defence-splitting ball from Hernandez, and finished by pin-ball rapid short-passing between Kruse and Thompson impossible to defend against, and which carved a way through the Perth defence made unbalanced by the multiple changes of direction.

Glory was compelled to make a change of its own shortly after the restart as Joshua Risdon came off injured, replaced by Todd Howarth.

Hernandez then lit up the stadium with an outrageous shot from wide left 35 metres out after it looked like he'd over-run a Kruse pass and let slip a promising move. But he stepped back to gather, saw Velaphi off his line, and instantly sent in a swerving lob which Velaphi was grateful to get a finger to, diverting it over the bar.

A later Hernandez effort from inside his own half after Victory had netted its second proved less difficult for Velaphi, and was wildly optimistic, perhaps a sign that the Costa Rican had reached the end of his energy reserves.

Just after the hour, Victory got its second. Hernandez's corner was arrowed to Vargas at the near post and the back-man's header was unstoppable. Howarth was marking the near post and got a touch, but Vargas had made such effective contact its path was scarcely diverted.

Minutes later, Howarth almost got Glory back into the game as he cleverly played in substitute Mile Sterjovski, brought into the action barely seconds before. Showing he was instantly in tune with the match, Sterjovski's shot needed Petkovic to beat the ball out for a corner with his legs.

But Victory held on for the points, looking to the coming weeks with some hope that its recent good form will cement a post-season Finals place.

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 19
7:30pm, Saturday 18 December, 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium

Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Archie Thompson 45'+4, Rody Vargas 63')
lost to
Perth Glory FC 0

    Crowd: 12,164


    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    1 Michael Petkovic (gk), 5 Surat Sukha, 23 Adrian Leijer, 2 Kevin Muscat (c), 7 Matthew Kemp (12 Rodrigo Vargas +34'), 13 Diogo Ferreira, 8 Grant Brebner, 11 Marvin Angulo, 21 Robbie Kruse, 16 Carlos Hernandez (15 Tom Pondeljak +88'), 10 Archie Thompson (9 Ricardinho +46')
    Substitutes not used: 20 Sebastian Mattei (rgk)

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: Grant Brebner 6'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1 Tando Velaphi (gk), 24 Joshua Risdon (17 Todd Howarth +49'), 5 Jamie Harnwell, 2 Josh Mitchell, 3 Jamie Coyne, 12 Scott Neville, 16 Adriano Pellegrino, 7 Jacob Burns (c) (15 Howard Fondyke +83'), 14 Steven McGarry, 22 Anthony Skorich (21 Mile Sterjovski +66'), 9 Robbie Fowler

    Substitutes not used: 20 Alex Pearson (rgk)

    Coach: David Mitchell

    Yellow Cards: Jacob Burns 75'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Matthew Breeze
    Assistant referees: Hakan Anaz, James Nicolopoulos; Fourth official: Lucien Laverdure

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory)
    2. Adrian Pellegrino (Perth Glory)
    1. Carlos Hernandez (Melbourne Victory)

    by Alan Clark

Picture Gallery (nil)

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their complete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless clearly attributed, are as supplied or made available by or through FFA and thus used by permission.

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